Monday, December 13, 2010
Holiday Rituals and Memories
When I was little, my mother made a set of three Wise Men. She took heavy paper cones about 10" tall, dipped some heavy, rich cloth pieces in a water-starch-glue mixture, and layered the fabric in heavy folds to create the "robes" of the Wise Men. She used simple inverted cones as the heads, wrapped more fabric around them to form turbans, and glued on simple felt mustaches and beards. The finishing touch was a large, fancy button at the center of each turban - one of some embossed gold metal, one gold button with a huge glass "diamond" in the middle, and one "pearl" the size of a marble. I loved setting up the wise men somewhere near the Christmas tree every year. I decided that the Wise Man in the cobalt-blue robe with the cream turban and the diamond button was Melchior. We had those figures for a dozen years before they finally disintegrated, but I still remember them fondly.
Every year there was the ritual of the Christmas lights. When I was little, the lights weren't the little twinkly ones - they were the ones that looked like skinny hard-boiled eggs, and were almost that big. The untangling, the testing, the replacing of bulbs (the muttering, the occasional muffled imprecation, the shivering), the stringing, and finally the plugging in and the bright lights on the tree that made it all worthwhile.
My parents had quite a number of records (remember those?) and a nice stereo system (remember turntables?). Every year the classic Christmas albums would be dusted off and happily played - Andy Williams, Perry Como, and others filled the house with familiar tunes and happy memories. I've been posting a Christmas song each day to my YouTube account since right after Thanksgiving, sharing some old favorites and newer discoveries to include others in the fun and joy I find in this season.
Merry Christmas, friends!